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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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August 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 48, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Caribbean Explorer II, Saba, BES

fine diving marred only by trolls aboard

from the August, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

Before COVID, my trips on the Caribbean Explorer II began in Sint Maarten and ended in Saint Kitts (or the reverse), with the diving split between Saba and Saint Kitts/Nevis. On my April trip, because of COVID restrictions on St. Kitts, the Explorer II restricted all diving to Saba (and will until at least September). Thanks to Saba's status as a marine park, Saba's reefs are healthier and more beautiful than Saint Kitts's (though diving Saint Kitts can be quite pleasant). But Saba is also windier and rougher, and the dives are deeper.

Caribbean Explorer II at the dockThe Caribbean Explorer II is older than many liveaboards and somewhat cramped at 115 feet and nine cabins. My cabin, which I booked as a solo, featured a double bed so short that I needed to sleep diagonally so my feet didn't bump up against the hull -- and I'm 5'9" tall. But to be fair, a trip on this boat costs much less than on other more expensive Explorer vessels or other Caribbean liveaboards.

Almost everyone on the boat remarked on how cold the air conditioning was in the cabins, something I remembered from my previous trips, so I taped over my vent. (Note to owner Clay McCardell: please fine-tune the air conditioning, save money, and let us sleep without three blankets and heavy socks!) The salon and sun deck were not air-conditioned, and many of us hung out there to enjoy the mid-80s temperatures and avoid the cabins' Arctic chill and cramped conditions. The sun deck also served as the informal cocktail gathering site, complete with sunset views. Most of us hung out here between dives, reading, snoozing, or watching stuff on our devices. By 9:30 P.M., most of us had collapsed in bed, tired from a lot of diving.

Normally, the boat departs Sint Maarten on Saturday evening to undertake the 3-4 hour crossing to Saba, but we had wind and rough seas, so we departed on Sunday morning. It was safer than a potentially dangerous night passage, but we lost two dives. And it still was rough! I always take Bonine (or meclizine), an over-the-counter medication for motion sickness, beginning a couple of days before boarding, and I needed it the entire trip....

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